US Army Needs A Few Good Ideas

The U.S. Army's $200 million advertising account is in review. According to the trade journal Advertising Age, the five-year-old "Army of One" tagline may be "out of touch" with the reality of war. The Army will use its ad campaign as its most public face as it tries to recruit 80,000 new soldiers next year. But the Army has to be "careful," Evan Wright, a Rolling Stone journalist and author of Generation Kill. Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War, told Advertising Age. "It really damages morale if they do a bait and switch," Wright said. The Army sells "kids on this idea of playing with really cool guns, machines, tanks, radios and computers, that they will have so much high technology they'll be an 'Army of One.'" But the primary images of war, according to Wright, "are burning Army Humvees. In the field, the technology doesn't seem so cool." The Army says its advertising is "based on real-life stories. ... If you look at our '2400/7' series [of ads], it demonstrates what soldiers are doing in their jobs. It's reality TV. We don't use actors. Our research tells us that these kids want to know what the deal is.